Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Digging in dirt, Arbor Day planting, may help build citizenship

Date:
April 29, 2011
Source:
University of Maryland
Summary:
Digging in the ground to plant trees may be an excellent gateway to further involvement in politics and civic affairs, concludes a new study, based on work with New York City environmental volunteers. "The more a person is involved in environmental stewardship, the more s/he engages with other types of civic and political activities," says the report.

Digging in the ground to plant trees may be an excellent gateway to further involvement in politics and civic affairs, concludes a new University of Maryland study, based on work with New York City environmental volunteers.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Maryland

Digging in the ground to plant trees may be an excellent gateway to further involvement in politics and civic affairs, concludes a new University of Maryland study, based on work with New York City environmental volunteers.

Related Articles


"The more a person is involved in environmental stewardship, the more s/he engages with other types of civic and political activities," says the report, Digging Together, which the researchers released to coincide with Arbor Day.

The study finds that participants in the MillionTreesNYC project are significantly more active civically than other New Yorkers and other Americans. This is especially true among the veteran volunteers, suggesting that environmental stewardship bears fruit in other civic arenas.

"Getting off the couch and doing a real activity is infectious and frequently leads to additional civic involvement," says Principal Investigator Dana R. Fisher, a University of Maryland sociologist who directs the new Center for Society and the Environment. "Digging in the dirt seems to be an excellent pathway to greater involvement."

Research has shown a general decline in political, social and civic involvement over the past couple decades, Fisher adds. "Environmental stewardship may prove to be something of an antidote, and our next step is to look more closely at this relationship."

Fisher and her team surveyed a random sample of hundreds of adult volunteers who came out to plant trees in four of New York City's five boroughs in the spring and fall of 2010. The MillionTreesNYC project is a public-private collaboration launched by New York City. It aims to plant a million trees throughout the city by 2017.

The survey reveals the New York volunteers to be atypical demographically compared to the general population -- predominantly women, relatively young, and well-educated. Minorities are under-represented. The volunteers also tend to be more liberal than the general U.S. population. The researchers say this general pattern is consistent with national trends in voluntarism.

The vast majority were newcomers to environmental stewardship -- roughly 80 percent. Most heard about the activities through their social networks, friends and families.

"City managers and civic groups are hungry for this information," says Erika Svendsen, a co-author of the report and a research social scientist with the U.S. Forest Service. "We've heard plenty of anecdotal stories of why people get involved, but we really haven't had the type of city-wide data we would like to better understand what motivates these people to take action."

Community-based programs around the nation can benefit from this kind of information, Svendsen adds.

"Although the results of this analysis of volunteer stewards in New York City provide some support for the claim that planting trees leads to better citizenship, more research is needed to understand the relationship between civic engagement and environmental stewardship. Future research will address this issue," the report states.

The study is the second in a series on environmental stewardship funded by the National Science Foundation.

Full report.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Maryland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Maryland. "Digging in dirt, Arbor Day planting, may help build citizenship." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110429095223.htm>.
University of Maryland. (2011, April 29). Digging in dirt, Arbor Day planting, may help build citizenship. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110429095223.htm
University of Maryland. "Digging in dirt, Arbor Day planting, may help build citizenship." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110429095223.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins